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Virtualisation – Part 1 – Saving Money

Row of servers“Virtualisation can save you money!”

Virtualisation is one of those words that you hear bandied about left, right and centre. Ten years ago only big businesses were even considering virtualised environments as the technologies were in their infancy and technically and financially unfeasible for small and mid sized businesses. However, the businesses that did take the leap in to this new tech space were saving big money in doing so. Jump forward a few years and even the smallest of businesses can now use and benefit from this exciting technology. We’ve already covered the basics of virtualisation here but in this article I wanted to look at some of the cost savings in more detail.

Imagine that you have a requirement for a new server system for your business. You are looking at a new piece of software to run your operations (such as a database or CRM system) and it’s decided that you need Small Business Server 2011 Premium. This software package comes with licenses for two servers, one running SBS itself (along with Exchange 2010) and the other to run a copy of Server Standard 2008 R2 (probably running SQL for your software package). Traditionally these two servers would have been run on separate boxes, each with it’s own associated purchase and running costs.

Now two servers is fine but there are several issues here. Firstly, there is the cost of purchasing and running two physical boxes. To keep initial costs down businesses may opt for two lower spec machines but this means missing out on some of the key features of higher end servers that make them so attractive (such as faster controller cards, enterprise RAID formats and redundant components). There’s also the fact that at any one time, one or more of the servers may be doing very little so resource utilisation is not very efficient. Wouldn’t it be better if you could have one box and have the two servers share resources efficiently?

With a virtualised system you can run two or more virtual servers on one physical box. Hard drive space and RAM are relatively cheap compared to the base cost of a server. It’s therefore cheaper to spec up one large box with enough resources for two virtual servers than it is to spec up two completely separate servers. The two virtual servers share resources and can be configured to allocate these resources dynamically as they are needed. This leads to much greater resource utilisation and lower overall running costs. It also means that rather than using two low spec machines a business can use a single higher spec machine and benefit from all bells and whistles that a higher class server comes with as standard.

At Geek-Guru we have been installing virtual systems for our clients for a number of years. We have experience designing, installing and supporting virtualised systems of all sizes. From small SBS installations with two servers right up to clustered high availability systems running off iSCSC SAN networks we can design a system that is right for your business.

Posted on by Tim
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